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JUNE/JULY 2005 | REGIONAL | EAST COAST

Podcast Beer
By Gregg Wiggins

The founder and head brewer of Virginia’s Williamsburg Brewing Company used to fly the F-117A stealth fighter for the U.S. Air Force, so dealing with high technology isn’t an issue for Hugh Burns.
And as someone who runs a modern brewery while also re-creating Revolutionary-era beers for the restaurants and taverns of the nearby “living history” attraction known as Colonial Williamsburg, Burns is comfortable with the latest and some of the oldest aspects of brewing.

Now Burns is going into the high-tech field of “podcasting” — using the Internet to deliver audio programs about beer to iPods and other personal audio devices that can be listened to at the user’s convenience. The broadcasts on his podbeer.com Web site will offer interviews and opinions about beer in a format Burns calls “Brews, Views and News,” which will stretch far beyond Williamsburg Brewing’s beer distribution area of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“We have the first couple of shows written,” said Burns, “and then we’re just going to go from there.” Among the planned topics for podcasts will be a look at the Slow Food movement with which Burns is actively involved, including an interview with Slow Food’s Italian founder Carlo Petrini, and an overview of early American beers and brewing techniques. “The historical interpreters who do the brewing demonstrations at Colonial Williamsburg are going to be guests,” said Burns, “and then we’ll probably have seven to 10 minutes of an ‘ask the guest, ask the brewer’ kind of thing.”

As Burns put it, “If you’ve got an iPod and a computer, you’ve pretty much got all the tools you need to do it. Then it’s just a matter of getting some good guests and making it interesting and fun.”

Gregg Wiggins works in public radio, contributes regularly to Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and has too many G’s in his name. He can be reached at greggwiggins@hotmail.com.

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